During this outbreak of COVID-19, it's only natural that we'll worry about our horses and pets, and with all the recent changes to daily life introduced by the government, there are a few changes that we could make to care for them in the best possible way...
There have been a handful of exceptionally rare cases around the world where animals have contracted COVID-19; dogs, cats and a tiger. In comparison to millions of people testing positive, this is a very small number.
It's possible for COVID-19 to be carried externally on animals, it's therefore very important to wash hands thoroughly after handling, feeding and cleaning. Also, avoid touching other people's horses and pets where possible in the meantime to reduce risk.
If your horse is kept in a livery you must respect the protocols put in place by the yard owner/manager, and work together to put a plan in place. If there is shared ownership, make sure you have a morning/evening rota.
Vets have been advised to keep services open for emergencies, however, always telephone beforehand as they may also be able to offer you a phone consultation. If your vet advises visiting the practice/the yard, they will inform you of any distancing guidelines that need to be followed once on site. It's always best to see your own vet as they hold your pets medical notes and will therefore give the best treatment.
Some things to be mindful of at this time of year for horses: laminitis, weight gain/weight loss, colic, midges/sweet itch.
If your horse/pet is on a repeat prescription/ongoing medication, call your vet for advice. They may be able to post or deliver these to you. Read our blog to learn how to administer medication to your horse.
Horse feed and bedding suppliers are seen as essential retailers along with pet shops. It's worth checking to see if your local pet shop or supplier is offering a delivery service as it is always beneficial to support our local businesses, but even more so now. There are also many online retailers, although delivery times could be impacted. You might also want to consider having enough supplies for 2 weeks in case you need to self-isolate.
Discuss with your farrier if you need to reschedule the next visit, they may ask for photos of your horse's hooves to help assess the situation.
As always, our pets can provide comfort and love during these times and it is a great reason to spend more time with them when possible. This time could be spent cuddling them or carrying out a spring clean of their home space.
For more information on caring for your pet please see our article below:
COVID-19: Caring for your pet
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Be safe, keep well and stay home.